Even though containers of South African citrus have now been released at European ports, the sector is facing huge losses, as the fruit had been held for weeks leading to a lowering of quality levels. South Africa’s Citrus Growers Association (CGA) said there was a massive ongoing threat to the South African citrus industry resulting from the new EU False Codling Moth (FCM) regulations.
“This threat is the long-term implementation of the unjustified, impractical and discriminatory EU FCM regulations on South African oranges, which are going to be impossible to implement by the local industry going forward,” said CGA chief executive Justin Chadwick.
“To date, the current impasse has cost local citrus growers more than R200m in losses,” he continued.
About 1,350 containers were affected by the new regulations. DALRRD spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo estimated that of these, only 300 containers have received their replacement phytosanitary certificates. Chadwick said that this would hopefully provide relief over the short-term to local growers:
“The CGA can also confirm that growers will more than likely also receive only half their expected returns on any fruit that is released, due to the fact that most containers have been standing for a few weeks and have therefore missed their programmes due to late arrival.”